On Sunday 26 March at 1:30pm, Broulee Surfers lifesaver Matthew Goddard courageously rescued a male who was caught in a rip at Broulee Beach.
Matthew, a 14 year old SRC member, was board training at the time when he noticed a male struggling after being smashed off a sandbar by 2-3 metre waves. In the heavy swell, Matthew immediately paddled over to assist the 25 year old who attempted to self-extricate from the rip.
“I was on patrol and the swell was pretty big, so I thought I would go out for some board training,” Matthew said.
“I saw a man struggling in a rip and straight away I thought he needed some help, so I paddled over to him and got him to hold onto my board so he could catch his breath because he was knackered and could barely breathe.”
Once the lifesaver reached the swimmer who was heavily fatigued he could barely hold his head above the water and was unable to get himself on the board without significant assistance from Matthew due to being over 6ft and 90kgs.
"When I saw him I thought he was just a little bit bigger than me so I thought it would be pretty easy. But the second I got him on the board I was thinking, this man is much bigger than me and it might cause some problems,” Matt said.
Shortly after Matthew had the swimmer on his board and paddled back through the surf zone to shore. Despite the conditions, the lifesaver showed maturity beyond his years to continually reassure the swimmer and safely return to the beach despite the extreme conditions.
Once on the sand, the swimmer explained to Broulee Surfers patrolling members that if Matthew wasn’t able to bravely rescue him, he would’ve drowned due to exhaustion and severity of the rip.
“The training that I got from my Surf Rescue Certificate (SRC) was really, really good and I thank Mick Lambert and Peter Halpin who were the trainers and also Kel Pearce who helped me out on the beach. They are the main reason I am able to do what I can today,” Matt said.
“Without that sort of help I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, or what I had done.”
Matthew’s ability to remain calm and successfully rescue the exhausted swimmer on a board not designed to rescue people, in difficult conditions and in such a proficient manner, is testament to the training he has received and his commitment to Surf Life Saving.
“When I was rescuing him the last thing I thought about was receiving the NSW Rescue of the Month Award,” Matt concluded.
"I'm very proud."
The SLSNSW Rescue of the Month aims to recognise excellence in lifesaving. Each month a ‘Rescue of the Month’ is awarded at State level for the most outstanding rescue performance for that period. Monthly winners have the chance to win the National Rescue of the Month and become finalists for the SLSNSW Rescue of the Year which is presented at the annual Awards of Excellence
For official citations and past recipients please visit the Rescue of the Month Recognition Page.